In the countryside of Turin, there are hills covered in vineyards for as far as the eye can see, hazelnut trees in meticulous order, hamlets surrounding small castels and centuries-old farmhouses and wine cellars. The harmony of the Langhe region is unique. Here nature and man respect each other and coexist silently, in a perfect balance.
The beauty of these lands is recognised worldwide, they have been included in World Heritage Unesco sites. Autumn, with all its shades of red and oranges, is the best season for a visit.
Wine and good food, however, are not the only points of interest in the area. There are many small treasures for children so that a trip to the Langhe can also be family-friendly.
The Langhe promisefun to the children.
Cherasco’s Museum of Magic
Cherasco, a beautiful village in the Langhe, is a corner of heaven on earth, for children as well for adults.
In a beautiful 18th-century building that once was the town’s nursery school, we can find the Museum of Magic.
It was created in 2013 by Don Silvi, a Salesian priest by vocation, but first and foremost a magician by passion. The museum, with its 2,000 square metres of floor space, is the largest magic museum in Europe.
Here an incredible collection of magic-related objects are exposed. The collection wonderfully stands out thanks to the unique design of the exposition surprises room after room.
The museum houses Mago Sales’s (Don Silvio’s stage name) instruments of play and study. To the collection are constantly added books, manuals and tools donated by magicians who pass through here.
There are eighteen exhibition rooms, which deal with the various aspects of magic in a highly evocative way. Thanks to interactive panels and various videos from every era, it is possible to discover tarot, circus, illusionism and get to know the greatest figures who have used different forms of magic over time.
The shows that take place in the museum’s two small theatres are surely able to leave the whole family speechless!
The Magic Museum can be visited by booking and freuently organises activities for groups and classes.
The Magic School, for children from 5 y.o., has also been set up in the museum. In addition to giving children the tools to perform and overcome their shyness, it teaches them how to present a game, how to stand on stage and how to entertain the audience.
Finally, as Don Silvio says, “you must never stop playing and dreaming.” The Museum of Magic is a good place to start again.
Part of the ticket price is donated to projects benefiting children in Italy and around the world
I bambini si divertono al Museo della magia di Cherasco
Museo del giocattolo di Bra
You can get lost in the rooms of the Toy Museum of Bra, which displays the private collection of the Braidese antiquarian Michele Chiesa, entrusted to the Municipality since 2007.
More than a thousand pieces from the beginning of the nineteenth century to the 1980s are on display in the six thematic rooms set up inside the civic library.
The first room is dedicated to early childhood, where old-fashioned gems are on display: a wooden potty and high chair, rattles and music boxes made of tin and then plastic, some of which were even self-produced for those families who could not afford to spend money on toys, considered a luxury at least until the 1960s.
In line with toy culture and marketing, not too long ago, unfortunately, the museum distinguishes and divides – deliberately but critically – dolls intended for girls’ play and children’s toys into two rooms. The dolls are beautiful, first in wax, then in porcelain and fabric, with little houses furnished and decorated in every detail. There are also sewing machines in miniature format, which introduced children to the craft from a very young age. Men’s toys include ships, boats, remote-controlled motorbikes (but with wire!), toy cars and wind-up toys, as well as war-inspired toys such as cannons, guns, rifles and toy soldiers. There are also skittles, table football and table football, and a wooden workbench, reduced in size but with real tools.
The room dedicated to the school shows a model of a desk from the early twentieth century, with folders, slings and worn shoes. The mini steam engines are beautiful.
The room contained the planes and pedal-powered vehicles, including small real cars, identical in every way to the family’s own. In addition to the cars, there are also a number of wooden and metal pedal planes. Then there are wooden and iron tricycles and very modern scooters.
The last room is dedicated to theatres and comic strips, all preserved and displayed with the utmost care.
Il Museo del giocattolo di Bra è una scoperta continua
“Children’s wine cellars” project
But those who visit the Langhe cannot think of leaving without visiting the cellars of the prestigious wines of these lands.
Fear that it will be too boring for children? No problem, that’s precisely why the project “Le cantine dei bambini” (Children’s wine cellars) was created, networking a number of wine cellars that have decided to set up play corners on the theme of wine for children.
The corner dedicated to children offers a wooden game kit where children are first engaged in learning about the production cycle by making the path of a grape that must become wine, and then continue by building a vineyard and simulating the transport of baskets full of grapes from the vineyard to the cellar. The game ends with the children tidying up the cellar and placing the individual bottles on the shelves. And while the children play, mum and dad can enjoy the visit and the tasting without a care in the world
Nelle cantine dei bambini il divertimento è assicurato
Big Bench Community Project
There are some rather special vantage points from which to admire the wonders of these hills. These are the giant benches of the Big Bench Community Project, an initiative conceived in 2010 by the American designer Chris Bangle and his wife Catherine to enhance the beauty of the local areas and communities: a project that began among friends but is now captivating the whole world.
The route of the giant benches has become almost collectible. You can download an APP listing all the benches (some more accessible than others), with geolocalization to find all the benches and even a passport to mark all the ones you have sat on.
There are a number of giant benches in the Langhe territory, where you can sit two metres above the ground and admire breathtaking views of small, well-kept villages. There is the purple one in Monforte d’Alba, the red bench of serenity in Alba, the blue one in Dogliani or the blue one in Clavesana, and many others.
The giant benches excite the children and, for once, put their parents in a position to be little again.